PARIS, June 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Sanofi (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY) announced today that it entered into a research collaboration with Weill Cornell Medical College to develop new anti-infectives that aim to shorten the course of treatment of tuberculosis (TB) and provide effective therapies against drug-susceptible and drug-resistant strains of TB.
Under the terms of the collaboration, Sanofi will provide 80,000 chemical compounds to Dr. Carl Nathan's laboratory at Weill Cornell, where the compounds will be screened to assess their ability to inhibit growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Weill Cornell has secured funding for the screening activities conducted by Dr. Nathan's team from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Sanofi and Weill Cornell will jointly determine if any compounds screened through the collaboration should be brought forward for optimization and further development.
"Since discovering rifampicin in the early 1960s, Sanofi has continued to pursue new therapeutic approaches to combat TB, including new vaccines and drug candidates with new mechanisms of action," said Elias Zerhouni, President, Global R&D at Sanofi. "This research collaboration with Weill Cornell will enable us to explore the potential of our existing compound library and pool the extensive knowledge of Dr. Nathan and his colleagues with Sanofi's drug development expertise to benefit TB patients worldwide in continuation of our long standing commitment to global health."
Every year, more than 1.7 million people worldwide die from TB. Today's TB drugs are more than 40 years old and must be taken for six to nine months for drug-sensitive disease and up to 24 months for drug-resistant disease. Long, demanding treatment schedules prove too much for many patients and the resulting erratic or inconsistent treatment can result in drug resistance, treatment failure or death.
"We are excited about this collaboration with Sanofi and its potential to identify new treatments for the millions of patients worldwide who have TB," said Dr. Carl Nathan, R. A. Rees Pritchett Professor of Microbiology, chairman of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. "Through partnering Sanofi's expertise in the characterization, development and commercialization of drugs worldwide with our laboratory's screening capabilities, we have the opportunity to bring our research to the frontlines of the fight against TB."
Sanofi Involvement in TuberculosisTuberculosis is, along with HIV/AIDS and malaria, one of the most serious infectious diseases at large in the world. Today, one third of the world's population is infected. It has been estimated that every second someone in the world is infected, and that every year around 8 million people will develop the disease and 1.7 million people will die from it. The WHO estimates that between 2000 and 2020, nearly a billion new people will be infected, of which 200 million will develop the disease, and 35 million will die if there is no improvement in handling the infection.
Sanofi, which discovered rifampicin in the early 1960s, markets several anti-tuberculosis drugs. With the Impact TB initiative, which is part of our Access to Medicines program, Sanofi provides quality drugs at an affordable price and is also actively researching new therapeutic approaches for tuberculosis. The goal of the tuberculosis program is to offer health authorities in the affected countries a range of high-quality anti-tuberculosis products, as well as tailored support initiatives, as part of the fight against the disease.
About SanofiSanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, rare diseases, consumer healthcare, emerging markets and animal health. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).
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